Since Caffe Daniela is opening soon in Downtown Columbus, I bit the bullet and checked out the original location in Worthington in order to get a feel for the place. Caffe Daniela features inexpensive pasta, pizza, sandwiches and salads in a fast casual setting that should appeal to the working class in Columbus (and Worthington, for that matter).
The most similar place to Caffe Daniela currently Downtown is Isabella's Cafe Italia. The menus are similar, but Daniela makes pizza and Isabella has a salad bar.
Nothing on the menu is more than $7.95. The portions are reasonable rather than ridiculous.
One of the easiest ways to generate a variety of vegetarian options at Caffe Daniela is to mix different combinations of pasta and sauce. For $7.50, you pick a pasta (there was fusilli, linguini, a medium spaghetti noodle and two other options that are currently slipping my mind) and a sauce (marinara, alfredo and pesto are all vegetarian-safe).
Daniela also offers daily specials. I sampled the roasted red pepper pesto. The whole wheat fusilli was well cooked and flavorful, but the sauce tasted more like roasted red peppers and less like pesto. The sauce wasn't bad; it was just poorly named. It was served with a soft bread roll.
The side salad consists of greens and shredded provolone in a house-made Italian dressing. The salad was nice, but it could have used more veggies.
There is also a vegetarian sandwich with tomato, mozzarella and pesto, as well as a margherita pizza, a white pizza, a caramelized onion pizza and a plain cheese pie. Those with a sweet tooth can also fill up on a variety of gelato flavors.
The prices at Daniela are reasonable based upon the quality of the food. It's hardly four-star cuisine, but it's fairly easy to fill up on pasta for less than a Hamilton.
Even though the roasted red pepper pesto wasn't my favorite, Daniela still seems to be slightly more vegetarian friendly than Isabella's. I also preferred the quality of the food at Cafe Daniela to that of Isabella's. Cafe Lola across the street also provides a few similar items to Cafe Daniela. I imagine that Downtown is plenty big and busy enough to support them all. Perhaps when Daniela opens, I can skip from Daniela to Lola to Isabella in order to keep more variety in my lunch hour.